IN the raging and jam-packed sea of musicians…
few manage to cling to the critical liferaft and make it to the tropical island of popular acclaim. It seems Jennings Couch has a fighting chance of safety and success! I speak with him about the new single, Serotonin, and a unique approach to relationships. There is a love of science and antiques in the bones of Jennings Couch – an angle I was keen to explore. He discusses his love of the sciences and some of his quirkiest possessions; the musicians who fuel his passions – and when new material is coming.
He divulges information about influence and the creative process; what he has in store regarding gigs; moving from the U.S. to the U.K. – and a new artist we should all be familiar with.
Hi, Jennings. How are you? How has your week been?
I’ve been well, thanks!
This week has been quite busy preparing for a couple gigs next week and future single releases. I’ve got music videos, photo-shoots and rehearsals to do - and not enough me!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I was born in New York City, in 1995, and moved to London when I was nine-years-old. I think the move really influenced the music I listened to growing up and, thus, influenced my songwriting.
I would say I’ve developed a strange mix of Alternative, Indie-Rock and Pop.
Serotonin is your new single. What can you reveal about its background and concept?
I’ve always loved philosophy and science - and I’ve always been interested in trying to take an abstract concept and turning it into a relatable song.
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for moods, particularly happiness, and I thought it would be really cool to create a love song using serotonin as the main idea; hence the chorus-line: “You’re playing havoc with my serotonin”.
It seems you have had quite an itinerant life so far. What was the reason for moving from New York to England? Do you get a chance to go back to the U.S.?
I came to England with my parents for their work. I would say my formative years were spent in the U.K and that’s why I adapted to this culture so well; so much so that I don’t feel American anymore and, whenever I go back to the U.S - which is only about twice a year - it feels like I’m just a visitor...
Who are the artists you grew up listening to and were inspired by?
I grew up listening to a wide range of music - from Heavy Metal to Folk.
Through every phase I went through, I believe I took any things that I enjoyed about each genre and put them into my own songwriting. For instance, I love a good Heavy Metal breakdown but I also love a beautiful Folk guitar riff. Finding a balance between what inspires me and what I am influenced by is a tricky (but satisfying) thing to do in songwriting.
You have spent time in bustling cities and the rural quiet. Do you source from your surroundings when it comes to music?
I would say I don’t source ideas directly from my surroundings - but being in a new environment is always creatively stimulating for me. I actually find it quite difficult to write at home.
I often end up having my best ideas when I’m in a new place or on holiday.
A chance meeting with Kevin Malpass started you on the path you are on. How important was that meeting? Tell me more about it…
Kevin and I clicked straight away…
We both enjoyed each other’s writing style and could really relate, musically. It was so important for me to meet someone who understands what I am trying to convey in my music - and he did it perfectly through his production of my tracks.
A new L.P. is coming soon. What themes and stories do you tackle on the record?
The tracks that are going on the new L.P. are quite varied in their themes.
I cover subjects such as human equality and the future of our society. Again; I’m always interested in taking big ideas and consolidating them into a song or two.
I know a lot of scientific and philosophical subjects will be included. Do you consider yourself a bit of a science geek?! What is it about science and the world around us that compels you?
I suppose I am a bit of a geek when it comes to science and philosophy! I’m just so interested in how the world works and how we form the reality in which we live in. I think it’s so important to question everything and remain open-minded.
There is no such thing as too much knowledge.
One imagines there are collectables and rare items in your household! What are your prized possessions? What is the most unusual thing you own?
I’ve got a real passion for antiques!
It’s just one of those strange hobbies I’ve developed over the years. My favourite era is the Victorian period; so I tend to collect items dating from 1830 to 1900. My most-prized possession is a silver Victorian pocket-watch from 1886.
It still works and I often wear it on a gold chain on my waistcoat.
IN THIS PHOTO: grandson
Which new artists do you recommend we check out?
Recently, I’ve been listening to an artist called grandson. He’s got such a unique sound that I’ve not heard before!
Definitely worth a listen.
Are there any tour dates coming up?
I’ve got some gigs coming up in Bristol, Cheshire and London - but I’ve also got a small tour in China the first week of December!
I’m so excited and really hoping they like my sound over there!
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
In my teens, I listened to a band called Lydia from Arizona in the U.S. They had an album called Illuminate - which captivated me and very much inspired the way I write today.
Another album that I love is Absolutes by Barcelona
It’s beautifully ethereal and always reminds me of hazy summers spent in the U.S when I was a kid.
Thirdly; I would say Parachutes by Coldplay
I love Chris Martin’s writing style and his use of big, complex chords both on the guitar and piano. Even to this day, I love every song on that album.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
I was given a great piece of advice a while ago...
It was to (just) put your blinders on; keep your head down and keep doing what you’re doing - there will be a million NOs before there is one YES. There is also no ‘right’ way to be successful in music...
As long as you are prepared to have all the bases covered (i.e. social media, radio; T.V., sync, writing for commission etc.) and you are patient; I believe it will work out.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already or will you be busy working?
For Christmas, I will be visiting my relatives in my parent’s home-state of Indiana (in the U.S.).
It’s tradition that we do every year. However, before I can relax I’ve got a lot to do! From shooting music videos, rehearsing; getting ready for China - as well as preparing for the new releases in the New Year!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
In that case, as I mentioned before; I’m really enjoying grandson at the moment.
His song, Best Friends, is wicked and should be heard! I’d love to know what people think about it
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